How to Highlight and Add Notes to the Side of a Word Document

Written by joe murray
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How to Highlight and Add Notes to the Side of a Word Document
Highlight and comment with Microsoft Word. (Will Ragozzino/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Microsoft Word allows you to use multiple tools when reviewing the text of any document opened in it. You can highlight a portion of the document's text and add a comment in the right or left margins. You can add notes, track changes and add a horizontal or vertical reviewing panel that shows changes, comments, text boxes, footnote and end note changes as well as header and footer additions.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Open the document to be edited in Word.

  2. 2

    Click on the "Review" button on the top of the menu bar.

  3. 3

    Open the down arrow on the "Track Changes" radio button on the "Review" menu bar and click on "Change Tracking Options."

  4. 4

    Select your desired options such as "Markup," "Moves," "Formatting" and "Balloons." If you want a summary of all actions taken, notes and comments made and any other changes in the document, click on the upper portion of "Track Changes" to select a separate dialogue box that will appear on the left of the document after the first change or comment is made.

  5. 5

    Place the cursor at the beginning of the section of text to be highlighted.

  6. 6

    Hold down the "Shift" key and click the right arrow key until the entire text to be commented on is highlighted.

  7. 7

    Click "Comment" on the "Review" menu bar. The highlight colour will change to the one you selected in the "Change Tracking Options" section. The default is fuchsia.

  8. 8

    Type your comment under the comment bar that appears on the left of the document.

  9. 9

    If you wish to have lines appear that connect the highlighted text to a comment balloon, open "Change Tracking Options" and select "Always" in the "Use Balloons" drop-down box on the "Balloons" section of the dialogue box at the bottom of the page.

Tips and warnings

  • To accept or eliminate any or all comments, use the "Accept" and "Reject" button to the right of the "Track Changes" radio button.
  • It is always wise to save a separate uncorrected original document copy in case the corrected copy gets lost or deleted by the commenter(s).

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